With the fate of her parliamentary immunity now in the hands of the National Assembly, SRP lawmaker Mu Sochua said Tuesday that she will be leaving the country Monday for 13-days to attend conferences in the US.
Ms Sochua said Tuesday that she wanted to make clear to the public that she was going to the US to fulfill prior engagements and not to flee from the lawsuit.
“I would like to inform the media that I don’t flee my country,” Ms Sochua said by telephone, adding that she will return to Cambodia on July 5. Ms Sochua declined to comment further about the suit filed against her by the prime minister and referred questions to SRP spokesman Yim Sovann.
The National Assembly is scheduled to vote Monday on whether or not it will lift Ms Sochua’s immunity so that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court can proceed with the defamation lawsuit filed against her by Prime Minister Hun Sen.
According to the National Assembly’s schedule, the vote on Ms Sochua’s immunity is slotted after Deputy Prime Minister Sok An’s scheduled appearance at the Assembly on Friday to answer questions about lights being installed at Angkor Wat.
CPP lawmaker Cheam Yeap, who is also a member of the Assembly’s permanent committee, said that if the Assembly finishes its questioning of the cabinet minister early enough, it could vote on Ms Sochua’s immunity on Friday instead of Monday.
Regardless of whether or not Ms Sochua’s immunity is lifted, she is free to travel abroad, he said
The prime minister sued Ms Sochua in April after she announced her intention to lodge a defamation lawsuit against him over comments he made in a speech.
Mr Sovann, the opposition lawmaker, said Tuesday that if Ms Sochua’s immunity is lifted and she is found guilty of defaming the prime minister, she would go to jail rather than pay court ordered compensation.
“She would go to jail and not pay the compensation because she didn’t defame anyone,” Mr Sovann said. “Only Prime Minister Hun Sen defamed her,” he added.